- WSL / Tony D'Andrea

After consecutive days of sunny skies and pristine conditions, a strong cold front stormed through Praia de Itaúna with heavy fog, wind and rain squalls leading to the event being put on hold several times at the Saquarema Surf Festival in memory of Leo Neves and presented by the City of Saquarema. However, the waves were not adversely affected by the change that brought on an increasing swell throughout the day.

As athleticism and acrobatics become and ever-increasing presence in surfing, sometimes there's nothing like some good, old-fashioned power surfing to bust out some big scores from the judging panel. And there's no one like the "Panda", Willian Cardoso (BRA) that represents Brazilian power surfing better after earning an 8.73 and an 8.00 for a total of 16.73 in his heat at the Men's QS3000 Quiksilver Pro.

"I'm really happy with my performance and for getting two scores in the eight-point range," said Cardoso. "I was focused on the lefts, but I ended up finding a good righthander to open up the heat with a good score and that kind of took the nerves away. After that, I settled down and just waited for the wave I really wanted. That big left ended up coming and I got to do two big turns on it exactly how I imagined I would. The waves have improved a lot today and it's like a movie part out there," finished Cardoso.

Willian Cardoso Willian Cardoso (BRA) smashing the lip at the Saquarema Surf Festival. - WSL / Flor Yanez

In the following heat, Yago Dora (BRA) used his circus-like abilities to launch the hugest air of the competition and land a draw-dropping, frontside full-rotation. It brought the entire crowd to their feet and built an exciting tension throughout the beach in anticipation of the score, which entered as a 9.50.

"I gave myself a 10 on that wave," declared Dora. "I haven't seen the replay yet to see exactly what it looked like, but the feeling I had was that it was a 10. I was getting a little antsy because I thought there'd be a bunch of waves during the heat, but it ended up being kind of slow. So, when that wave came through, it ended up being kind of short, so I risked it all doing that air and ended up landing it perfectly."

Yago Dora Yago Dora - WSL / Flor Yanez

Saquarema local, João Chianca (BRA) was brilliant once again, exhibiting his knowledge of the quirkiness of the wave at Praia de Itaúna by taking a commanding lead in his heat to earn a 16.24 to advance alongside Alonso Correa (PER).

"I got to my heat right as it was starting because I was just taking my time and relaxing at home," said Chianca. "With these conditions, I knew that when the swell increases so quickly, conditions get tricky. But I knew exactly what I was looking for and positioned myself well to get the best waves. It feels good to get some nice scores and advance into the next round."

João Chianca Local surfer João Chianca (BRA) hitting the sweet spot at Praia de Itaúna - WSL / Tony D'Andrea

Quarterfinalists at the Men's & Women's Saquarema Surf Festival Pro Junior event were also determined today with WSL LATAM Pro Junior Champions being crowned on Sunday. The future of surfing in South America looks solid with representatives from Peru and Brazil leading the charge.

In the Men's division, athletes such as Ryan Kainalo (BRA), Caio Costa (BRA), Cauã Costa (BRA) and Heitor Mueller (BRA) seek to become the next Filipe Toledo (BRA), while Sol Aguirre (PER), Tainá Hinckel (BRA), Sophia Medina (BRA) and Laura Raupp (BRA) hope to earn a spot on the Championship Tour sooner rather than later.

Ryan Kainalo Ryan Kainalo - WSL / Tony D'Andrea

After winning the first-ever Qualifying Series contest she ever competed in, Raupp is keen on continuing her impressive performance on the Pro Junior circuit as well.

"I'm really happy that I advanced to the next round because I only got my best waves in the last ten minutes of the heat," said Raupp. "The backwash here is insane, but you need to adapt and find the best waves regardless of the conditions."

Laura Raupp Laura Raupp - WSL / Tony D'Andrea

A call is set for 7:00 am local time for continuation of the Saquarema Surf Festival.

In parallel news, the City of Saquarema will be inaugurating the newly built Leo Neves Surf Training Center on Saturday, November 20th. The Training Center, designed with full accessibility, aims to serve beginner, amateur and professional athletes with a full array of physical, educational and professional support for surfers.

Adjacent to the Leo Neves Surf Training Center, the Saquarema Surf Museum was created and will be a space dedicated to the history of surfing, while spotlighting Saquarema's importance as the Mecca of surfing in Brazil.

In addition, the Saquarema Surfing Walk of Fame has also been placed along the sidewalk featuring the footprints and signatures of world-famous surfers such as: Gabriel Medina (BRA), John John Florence (HAW), Silvana Lima (BRA), Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Adriano de Souza (BRA), Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Jaqueline Silva (BRA) and Flavio Padaratz (BRA).

Centro de Treinamento Leo Neves Centro de Treinamento Leo Neves - WSL / Thiago Diz

The Saquarema Surf Festival presented by the City of Saquarema is licensed by WSL Latin America for 213 Sports as part of the WSL Qualifying Series and South American regional qualifiers for the World Pro Junior and Longboard Men's and Women's categories at Praia de Itaúna. The event is sponsored by Quiksilver, ROXY, 51 ICE, Corona, and has the support of Orthopride, Stanley Brasil, Monster Energy and the Rio de Janeiro State Surfing Federation (FESERJ), the Saquarema Surf Association (ASS), MegAçaí and the Ricosurf and Waves websites. The event will be broadcast live on WorldSurfLeague.com.

ABOUT 213 SPORTS - Founded by Pedro Dau, Yuri Binder, Bernardo Montenegro and Marcelo Montenegro, 213 Sports was born in 2012. In 2021, the agency was acquired by V3A and, since then, it has been responsible for the Sporting division, which integrates the pillar of the company's Ventures. Focused on sports marketing, 213 Sports has carried out more than 50 projects for global and local brands, impacting more than 20 million people in Brazil and worldwide. The essence of 213 Sports sees sports as engagement, entertainment and, above all, an outlet for brands seeking attention from the consumers. Strategic insights aligned with the brand's positioning, excellence in execution and measurable results with social returns, whenever possible, are the foundations that sustain 213 Sports. Responsible for numerous cases, the agency stands out for accomplishments such as CamelBak Race, Casa ON Running, the Oi Rio Pro, Pelé Academia, Praia Para Todos, Sephora Beauty Run, WSL House, among others.

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